Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, USA
So we left Conneaut and headed towards our next stop, which, unfortunately it seemed to take longer than anticipated to get to and get started. This was the first time I’d not gotten lost on the way (and the first time I didn’t see any of those darn yellow arrows) to…Kennywood!
It had been ten years since my last visit and the park has changed in many good ways. It was a nice evening, and this was my first time getting the ‘true’ night time Kennywood experience (my only other nite experience at Kennywood was during Fright Nights, so that was much different).
After getting into what I’d forgotten was a beautiful park (and this was I believe my first time seeing the new gate), we headed first to purchase Kennywood’s version of pay to cut. It’s a little different, and I really just wish you could go at whatever time and ride everything without waiting once, because the times really kind of set us back. Then we headed to the Bayern Kurve. Unfortunately it broke down just as we arrived, and both of us were really looking forward to riding the ride, so we knew we’d check back later. Since that was a bust, we went to what was for a very long time my favorite coaster ever, Phantom’s Revenge.
Phantom’s Revenge-I was blown away by this ride every other time I rode it. The only thing I didn’t care for was the first drop, actually. I know they’ve replaced all of the track on the first drop, did some tweaks, undid some tweaks, and added a trim. Would it still be amazing? Our first ride was in the front of the ride, a first for me. That first drop was actually better, and the straight track after had some positive forces I didn’t remember. Then you head up and into roller coaster bliss. That first hop up and into the ravine is magical, as is the rest of the ride. Aggressive, powerful, and chock full of airtime. It’s still as amazing and insane as ever. Phantom still holds up after a ten year absence. It’s just that good.
At this point it was time for our first scheduled ride so we headed across the park to Thunderbolt.
Thunderbolt-That first drop out of the station is so much fun. I really like Thunderbolt. We rode in the very back seat for the ride. It has great airtime, and going in and out of the ravine is really cool. I love Thunderbolt, and the lights on it at nite are great too. The whole park is great at nite.
We walked around the back of the park to see what what the lines for Racer and Jack Rabbit were like, which were kind of long. We had a time for Phantom, so we walked around the park back towards the Kurve, which looked to be down for the count, and then by Noah’s Ark, which also had a line. So we headed on back for more Phantom instead.
After Phantom we hit up the Whip. I love these rides. Once we were done, it was actually time for our Exterminator appointment, so we did that next.
Exterminator-Honestly, this was the spinniest ride I’ve ever had one one of these, and with it being indoors, it was really disorienting. It was a lot of fun! Great way to take a basic clone and make it fun.
So we walked back over to get some rides on the last two wooden coasters. Jack Rabbit’s line was the longer one, and I figured we’d be able to do Racer last minute once we got Rabbit out of the way. This just happened to be the ride’s 95 birthday.
Jack Rabbit-For such an old ride, it sure gives a great thrill. The first part of the ride is really good and then you get to that double down. I made Doug hold his hands up and not put them down. I love that element. One of the best things ever on any thrill ride. Jack Rabbit still looks good for being in his 90s.
Next up was the only new credit in the park I was worried about (I still haven’t ever tried for Little Phantom). I love Premier coasters, and this was a much newer offering. I’d heard meh things about it, but I was still very eager to ride.
Sky Rocket-To me, this is the definition of underrated. This coaster delivered a great launch into an amazing airtime filled tophat. The you drop off and hit the cut back. The inversions are smooth with great hang time. There is airtime on every hill. Why aren’t more people talking about this? I really thought it was great.
We rushed over to Noah’s Ark and on the way…the Kurve was running! Yay! This ride means a lot to me because it’s one of my mom’s favorite rides and we always rode it together as a kid at parks like Kings Dominion, Carowinds, and the ones that came around to fairs. I hadn’t ridden one since my senior year of high school 16 years ago, so this was a treat. It was great. Then we went over to Noah. I don’t remember much of it from 2005, but it seemed very different, with the ending obviously closed off.
At this point I had to make a decision. Doug needed the Racer credit and we didn’t have much time. I’m not a huge Racer fan, and I wanted Phantom night time rides, so I told Doug with the little time we had left that he should have no problems getting on Racer, but I was going to Phantom and we’d meet up after. The decision was a good one. I rode in the back of the train in the dark and it was great. And then they sent us around again at the end of the nite.
I love Kennywood. I will not wait 10 years to return. It’s a wonderful park, and next time I’m going to go to the park all day and stay till the evening. It’s so great, and I need time to enjoy it.
After that we headed off to the Hyatt Regency at the airport. Definite upgrade from the previous lodgings. I went out a little late as Doug stayed at the hotel. Monday morning we started the long journey back to North Carolina. The trip was really great.
Curious, where can I find info about the Phantom changes? I didn't know they did anything to it.
A couple years ago, Morgan went back and replaced all of the Arrow track left on the drop, straight away, and into the next hill. Then they did something with banking at the top of the hill that drops into the ravine. They did something weird from what I've heard with the banking, and it didn't last but thru the year and then it was fixed.
They put a magnetic trim on the course, but it was really more so you don't get slammed into the bar, it didn't kill any airtime.
I remember when they did that odd banking thing at the top of the 2nd hill. It was quirky, but I didn't find anything really wrong with it.
I miss Phantom, I need to get back out there.
Phantom is a consistent favorite. The only real problem with it is that it could be about 2000' longer.
They also put new bodies on phantoms trains last season. I have it ranked #2 on my steel list behind Bizarro@ sfne and ahead of expedition G force at #3.
I've never not had a super-spinny ride on The Exterminator. It's probably the best spinning mouse I've been on because of it, and I think it's way better than Laff Trakk.
Sky Rocket is underrated because its so short. It's just around a minute. Everything about it is great - the elements, the smoothness, the restraints - it's just not long enough to be up there on anyone's radar, I don't think.
My lone ride on Exterminator was a bore. Granted, the spinning was disabled the day I was there.
I probably should have given it another whirl (heh) when I was there last year. But honestly, my equilibrium and stomach aren't huge fans of spinning mice.
At Coasting For Kids two weekends ago, bunky666 asked me what my favorite coaster is at Kennywood. I was surprised when Exterminator came out instead of something that starts with an "f" sound. In fact, since it's been so long since I rode Rock and Roller, I'd venture Exterminator might have usurped its spot as my favorite indoor coaster.
Nice TR. I made only my second visit to Kennywood in early May and forgot how phenomenal Phantom is. So much speed and airtime. Also second the Exterminator love here, it might be my favorite mouse. Never been at Kennywood at night though....need to fix that!
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